A Preferential Option for the Poor Ignoramuses

There is a new blog The Motley Monk (which also has some food posts, btw).   There are some very smart posts there.   My interest was captured by the mention of one of the better profs in the Theology Department at the University of Notre Dame, John Cavadini.

There are good theology profs at Notre Dame.

In any event, given the anniversary of Ex corde Ecclesiae, some of you might find this interesting:

A Preferential Option for the Poor Ignoramuses: Installment #1

In his “Distinctly Catholic” NCR On-Line blog this past week, Michael Sean Winters discussed Pope John Paul II’s apostolic constitution, Ex corde ecclesiae. On Friday, August 13, Winters interviewed John Cavadini, a Theology Professor at the University of Notre Dame and Director of the McGrath-Cavadini Institute for Church Life. In that interview, Cavadini put his finger squarely on an issue of immense interest to The Motley Monk.  (click here for the complete interview)

Cavadini believes the impact of the apostolic constitution has been marginal, at best. [No surprise there.] He explains: “What we ended up with was a series of local versions of a separate peace, which only in a few exceptional places had any institutional impact whatsoever.”

Why? A footnote in Ex corde concerning a mandatum to teach theology in Catholic institutions of higher education became the focal issue in U.S. Catholic higher education rather than the document’s content. A bright and diplomatic academic, Cavadini notes: “Having solved the ‘problem’ posed by Ex corde, but never having really confronted the ‘ideal,’ Catholic colleges and universities went forward, by and large, without the guidance of the ‘ideal,’ without a concrete sense of what they were aiming at.”

That’s sort of like taking a shot with a bow and arrow having no clue as to where the target is located! There are laws which prohibit such irresponsibility. What about the responsibility professors and administrators have to the Church which sponsors these institutions?

Cavadini doesn’t say so, but I believe those professors and administrators had a target they were aiming at and co-opted arguments over the mandate to hit the bull’s-eye!

To discuss how I believe this happened, I want to consider Cavadini’s synopsis of post-Vatican II U.S. Catholic higher education in four installments: 1) the social justice agenda; 2) the academic officials; 3) the parents; and, 4) the graduates.

Today, the first installment: The Social Justice Agenda



Go read the rest there.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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